01.01.2018 1 Comments

I remember Diddy coming down. This was pre-Twitter and all of that. We had come a long way in race relations on a one-on-one basis: For several years, the party hopscotched from park to park on the Westside. He launched his record label, So So Def, in That was never discussed, but it was part of a concern. When you think about the role Atlanta has in the minds of black people in America, Freaknik played a role in creating that brand. That April, , students converged on the city—triple the number predicted by police chief Eldrin Bell. Then I started getting booked to do concerts in the park and then shows at the clubs.


He works a technical writer and lives in Atlanta. Jermaine Dupri grew up in Atlanta and still lives here. Two incidents exacerbated race and class tensions. The highlight of Freaknik was getting stuck in traffic. A lot of labels had events and parties, and labels saw it as an opportunity to promote their new artist. It was a simple event—sandwiches, coolers, boom boxes, that sort of thing, recalls Sharon Toomer, then a Spelman College freshman and one of the organizers. But I also was very frustrated because the efforts to reimagine and redefine Freaknik into black college weekend had such marginal success that it was rather frustrating to be a part of that process. Their recommendation to the mayor: Freaknik Peaks From hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands, Freaknik grew, but during its first decade, almost all white Atlantans—and many black Atlantans over the age of 40—were oblivious. On Saturday at Lenox, you could see every artist there. No, my mother did not know where I was going or what I was up to! Even Mardi Gras is more controlled. APD put 1, officers on hour shifts, and the city tested its high-tech traffic system. But for most attendees, the attraction was not so much going to events as getting there. He officially attended his first Freaknik as a college freshman. And the police pressure stepped up, with arrests and thousands of citations issued. We just got caught in traffic and had no idea why. I remember going down the escalator and the guys from Boyz II Men were harmonizing on the escalator going into the food court! The Dirty South was really starting to come into its own. There was this woman—way too old to be a student—who was dancing on her car, with nobody there to watch her. Where would you go to party if you lived in Augusta? The Georgia Emergency Management Agency opened up its command center, and Georgia National Guard troops drilled at metro-area armories. They brought their grills, their blankets, and, of course, their coolers. It took me from two until seven to get from Lenox Square to Piedmont Park. All weekend long, the party rolled from Piedmont Park to Peachtree Street to Lakewood to the West End, blocking residents in their homes and bringing business to a halt.


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